Sarah Kim (Looking Outwards)

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Teresa Margolles’ Aire and What Else Could We Talk About left me with a lot of questions. She used the soap and water that was used at the morgue to clean the unidentified bodies as a form of medium for her art. The room was filled with vaporized morgue water and soap bubbles and this was her way of letting the society know the victims of today’s society’s violence. But unlike her strong concept, I was questioning if her way of displaying her art work and using such materials were a successful way of approaching her viewers and the society. I am afraid that the shocking fact that viewers just breathed in the morgue water and soap will overshadow her concept and message behind her art work. 

Following Margolles, the article also talked about Damien Hirst and Anthony-Noel Kelly, talking about the grey area of legal rights for using human remains as a medium of one’s art work. I do think this is a tricky area. Hirst and Kelly were involved in issues about disrespect for the diseased and the family and smuggling anatomical specimen. Interesting thing, however, is that Kelly’s conviction was overturned. The reason being that corpse cannot be a property and therefore cannot be owned or stolen. This might have been a great news to artists who wish to use human remains as their medium but for the families and the view from the society in general might take a while for it to completely accept the lack of its ownership. 

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DiMODA, ‘The Digital Museum of Digital Art’ captured my attention with its title. Just like its name, Alfredo Salazar-Caro and William Robertson created a virtual institution where they created a museum for digital art work. So a digital art work within a digital art work itself. DiMODA house virtual landscape and contemporary digital art, where New Media artists can exhibit their digital artworks. The idea of housing digital artwork in a digitally created space struck me because its obvious yet rare. If this digital space expands further where viewers can easily access the virtual institution like they can access modern day museums, that will be a huge step forward. 

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Most of the surveillance art I encountered, which aren’t that many, either recreated what the government was doing or shared the stories of those who have been effected by the government control. So for me, although knowing that it is true from the back of my head, it didn’t seem real enough, or I guess I should say I didn’t feel it at my skin. But after looking and reading about Trevor Paglen’s work, especially the images of NSA tapped undersea cables at North Pacific Ocean, which clearly shows the evidence of government surveillance and the nation’s connected digital information, as a viewer, the reality was clear yet shocking. Paglen also created series of landscape images that are created by the machine and only viewed by the machine which contains informations that are completely different than the regular landscape images we see on internet. 

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